Choice Overload Problem

ThoughtIn the video, Sheena Iyengar argues that availability of many choices causes to reduction of engagement, decision quality and satisfaction. She emphasizes that people need to make many decisions in daily life and since they cannot consider all of the choices available by doing the math, some customers may make a wrong decision or even refrain from buying at all. Then she proposes some solutions such as: Cut (reduce the choices), concretize, categorize, complexity (low to high choice condition).

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The examples and result of the studies are persuasive enough to me since I have concluded the same results considering my own choices. Although it is not mentioned in the video I think this concept can be link to post purchase dissonance, which is the situation when we were not sure if we made the correct decision and think about the possibility that other alternatives we rejected could have been better, leading to an inconsistency. While doing shopping, I feel the same all the time unless I have a prior knowledge or brand loyalty.

For example, I sometimes buy nothing because of choice overload due to fear of being mistaken or I try to reduce dissonance after the purchase in some ways: Searching a conforming evidence to justify my decision like “Many people I know are buying this brand, it must be good”, ignoring any information about the alternatives or downgrading the importance of the decision like “It is just a chocolate, not a big deal”. After this, if I am still dissatisfied, the options are canceling the purchase or not to purchase again.

Moreover, the video reminded me another video “Saving for tomorrow, tomorrow” in which Shlomo Benartzi talks about planning fallacy. One of the examples was about the comparison of donation rates in Germany by 12%, and Austria by 99%. The reason was that while taking driving license in Germany people were supposed to check a box if they want to become a donor, and in Austria check the box if they do not want to. Thus he concluded that checking the boxes require effort and people choose to do nothing. I thought this example might be relevant because it argues people are tend to choose the easiest way that requires no effort.

Thus, when they are faced with a choice overload they will probably be confused and as a result make a wrong decision or ignore doing any decision. In conclusion, Sheena Iyengar’s solutions are good since they support the learning and decision-making process of people: Cut, few choices are worth to consider. To concretize can affect our decisions. Categorize, dividing the information into meaningful parts help to understand. Level of complexity, starting from simple to hard makes people ready to process.

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